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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Really, The Word Says It All: Line

I have had occasion to be standing in a number of lines recently.

They really don’t get the respect due them, do they?

When’s the last time you queued up? Do you recall it being an orderly affair? Did people play well together, or did it start out looking somewhat line-ish only to collapse into a cluster of side-by-side groupings, large gaps between the bodies of people whose personal space is clearly wider than the average person’s, branches of the “line” extending to the right and left, the line having split into chaos?

Well did it?

I’ve had too much time to think about this.

Now me, you want to get off the bus ahead of me? Go ahead. You want to get on the airplane last? Hey – that’s just smart, if you ask me.

But if we’re waiting for something and a line has clearly been formed, in what part of the brain did the idea originate that queuing up is meant for others?

Why the line abuse?

Aren’t there rules about lines? Wouldn’t the first rule be that you get behind the person at the head of it? Wouldn’t the next rule be that this continue, ad infinitum, until the purpose of the line is realized?

Where are the Brits when we need them?!

Sorry. I don’t know why I said that – it just kinda came out.

So fine. The line, while still a daily necessity for many of us, has been disrespected into nonsensical madness. Frankly, it needs to be re-named.

And this gives me something to think about while standing in line.


Simply Suthern said...

They had a name for it at my high school in the cafeteria. It was the scramble system.

It is sad now tho. People dont feel they need to wait like everyone else. You see it in the stores, The DMV, and the highways.

Fred Miller said...

Standing in line is very much like competing in a karate match. Stay calm. Relax. Use your opponent's point of view. Keep your eyes moving, but stay focused with your peripheral vision. Oh, and smile.

DevilsHeaven said...

Interesting you should post this considering my spouse went off on a lady in Khol's a few days ago because she cut in front of him when the cashier opened a new line. I died of embarassment when he took it too far, but it I've seen people get even more upset than him about that.

Kyddryn said...

Hmm...for champion liners-up (I think I just made that up), you need Soviets from the old USSR days - boy, could they queue! They'd stand in line for days to get a pair of shoes that weren't even their size! That's why there's no line-standing event in the Olympics...everyone knew the Soviets would win it, hands (or would that be feet?) down.

As I see it, one joins a line by standing behind the rearmost (if that's not a word, it should be) person, becoming the caboose until the next person joins the queue. If there are several friends in line together, some bunching may occur, but as they near the head of the line they should sort themselve out in an orderly fashion to make line moving more efficient.

When you are Queen of the World, I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for the Supreme Line Czar position. If there's no such posotion, there should be, and being Queen of the World, you could certainly appoint such a person.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who may be a wee caffeinated at the moment)

Anonymous said...

I think that people who can't manage to stand in line properly should have to go back to kindergarten where life's most important skills are learned (sharing, waiting for your turn, how to properly eat a graham cracker,drink a carton of milk and have a short nap, etc.)

I'd also be willing to wager those same people talked all through class and never raised their hands.

Lo said...

Brilliant idea....great blog, as usual

Pearl said...

:-) It's a matter of respect, iddin it?

And when I am declared Queen of the World, Kyddryn, you will be Line Czar.

So it is written. So it shall be done!

K A B L O O E Y said...

But then there are those gray areas, when it seems that there is one big, snaking line that you branch off to go to the first available cashier, but then others think there are separate lines for each cashier and they just stumbled upon the super-short line that the rest of us in the snaky line can't see because we're blind and/or idiots.

PS: in New York City, and nowhere else I've ever heard, we get on line, not in line.

Anonymous said...

I think orderly queues are a mark of civilization and violation of them calls for immediate gunplay.

Sarah said...

There's no line whatsoever where I grew up, so if you ask me I'd say people here are pretty good. Of course everything is relative.

Gigi said...

Oh don't get me started on those "line jumpers" (as MC called them when he was small - even then he had a strong sense of right & wrong - wonder where he got it from?).....right, where was I?

a Broad said...

I live in South America.
Of course I stand in lines !! Everywhere !!
They don't jump but at the grocery store, they have a sign that says if you are pregnant or elderly, you can go to the front of the line. And they do.
No matter that you have been standing there an hour.
I am starting to plan how to be an elderly pregnant person when I shop for groceries. Should work.

And I agree with mrwriteon ... gunplay, definitely.

justsomethoughts... said...

line-cutters are why capital punishment was first invented.
true story.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I agree, Pearl. This brings to mind a stupid rhyme I learned in elementary school about order (for queuing or other things, I suppose): "First is the worst. Second is the best. Third is the man with the hair on his chest." The moral is to let someone else go first, but don't be third.

Linda Myers said...

There's always a person in the line saving a place for five of their closest friends.

Argent said...

As a brit, I can sadly report that line abuse is increasing over here. It drives me nuts.

Pearl said...

Good points, all. And now that poem is stuck in my head...

And when the Brits report line abuse? I say a moment of worldwide, slow head-shaking is in order. It's not right.

Sausage Fingers said...

I love the line "Where are the Brits" Judging from our last trip to the house of mouse, they are waddling around Orlando donned with football strips (Soccer uniforms) parading their pinkness in the midday sun.

Douglas said...

All I know is the other line always moves faster.